Tag Archives: holidays

Caregiving and the holidays …

Greek Kourembiedes CookiesFor many Americans, the period from Thanksgiving through the New Year is fraught with tensions and anxieties, coupled with moments of exuberance and joy. if you are a caregiver, it can add yet another level of complexity in the ever evolving landscape of illness whether physical or lodged in the recesses of the brain.

I will say things have been fairly smooth so far and actually seemingly less fraught than prior years because the fact is so much of our lives is now lived in the moment. After all, when one’s loved one can’t really remember that tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, or even what Thanksgiving is, the celebration gets quite easy. So my daughter and I set it up such that we’d spend lunch with my sister and other members of our family, and afterwards came home to celebrate “Thanksgiving” with Jed.  Thanksgiving 2021It was fairly simple, consisting of his favorite roasted veggies, a lovely dressing, fresh orange cranberry relish plus a yummy French Apple Cake and voila, we were done. No fuss, no muss. And no hurt feelings because Izzi and I had spent part of the day with my sister.

Our six-week run usually consists of Thanksgiving, the anniversary of when Jed and I met, his birthday, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s.As it happened December 6th marked 25 years since Jed and I first got together.

I admit to sadness at the fact that he didn’t really understand it, but did enjoy the pizza I brought in and otherwise marked it in my own way.

And no. No stroll through Tribeca to Puffy’s on Hudson and Harrison where we met, or any particular reminiscence, though he did recall that I’d gone there with two of my oldest friends. Still, it remains wistful. Speaking of another place and time where our senses had felt so heightened and together.

His birthday comes up next … which will also be low key no doubt. Yes to family cake and a visit from Izzi, plus a few presents, but it doesn’t really register, except as a big surprise each time I bring it up.

As for the rest … well, Hanukkah has come and gone, along with a wonderful visit from Jed’s oldest friend. And after Jed’s birthday, we’ll have Christmas, and maybe even a small tree because he seems to associate it, and then lovely chocolate truffles and a split of champaign for New Year’s Eve.

The lesson of it all to myself is to remain in the moment.Boxing at Gleason's Gym

To stay calm.

To give myself the self care I need to feel contained whether that means ensuring I get to Gleason’s Gym to box or to take an hour to sit in the cafe across the street tarrying over a cappuccino as I write in my journal.

And yes, I’m making the events as special as I can, without overtaxing myself or attaching to the idea that it will remain as “that time at Christmas when …” because, the fact is he won’t particularly remember.

The best I can ask for is see to his sense of happiness from moment to moment. And really, what better gift is there than that.

And please, if you are caring for a loved one … know that you are not alone and can always, always reach out.

Thankful? You bet!

Thankful?  You bet!

Orange Cranberry Relish

Being a vegetarian, the turkey thing is not exactly my idea of Thanksgiving.  What the holiday does bring is the run-up to my annual heathenish/Jewish/I love Christmas anyway month of reflection on why, with a nod to Lou Gehrig, I am the “luckiest” person “on the face of the earth.”

I could start with the blessings of an amazing daughter and fabulous husband — or that I even have the opportunity to wake up each day with enough food to eat, the ability to work, hot running water, and an iPad, iPhone and Macbook to play with.

The point being that whatever sorrows and triumphs I may experience over the course of a day, a week or what has become the sum total of my lifetime, the process of saying “thank you” to the folks who make those experiences possible is one that requires more than just a day to sit back, overeat and watch football. Rather the point of it all is to live in a realm of “thank you,” where common courtesies, extending oneself to others even when one doesn’t have to, and otherwise being mindful of the other seven billion on the planet is a way of life.

So if I haven’t said so lately, thank you to all the friends who have extended themselves to me by reading Girlboxing. You’ve all made it a place where I feel comfortable enough to jot down my thoughts and opine to my heart’s content on the little things and big things that have meaning to me. Most importantly, you’ve all helped to expand my world and my way of thinking — something that has been an incalculable gift.

Please also accept my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Orange Cranberry Relish

(1) 12 oz. package fresh cranberries

(1) cup sugar

(1) navel orange

Grated orange peel from one orange

(2) – (3) cups orange juice

Rinse and pick over the cranberries.

Place in a heavy 2 – 3 quart saucepan, and cover with orange juice under medium flame.

Add in sugar and grated orange peel.

Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. (You should be attentive at the stove as the cranberries will start to pop.)

Reduce flame and simmer for about 40 minutes or until mixture reduces and thickens, stir occasionally throughout.

Place in a festive bowl and allow to set and cool (about an hour or so).

Cover tightly with plastic wrap before refrigerating.  Will keep for three – four days.

Sixth day

Sixth day


The Sixth Day of Creation, 1926 Woodcut, M. C. Escher


This is my sixth morning of yoga and I’m thinking am I nuts to get up even earlier than way before dawn to do this??

Sure that meditation-y feeling is nice and it really is quite amazing to think that the body can hit such poses when one is fighting off dreamland but please, I need several more hours in the day just to do this sort of stuff because I actually do *not* think that sleep is overrated!

So I start thinking of it this way.

Did I really need to watch two episodes of Battlestar Gallactica (Season 1 of the reboot from the SF channel-really good) when I came home from work yesterday?  Yes, I acknowledge that I didn’t exactly “watch” per se, but made dinner for my family, removed all the ornaments from the Christmas Tree, took down the lights and packed everything.  So that’s “fair,” right?  So why do I feel “bad” about it?  Why do I insert the “but,” the — but I could have been doing yoga, shadow boxing, lifting weights, reading, paying bills, doing laundry.

Oy!  Balance!  What’s a person to do?

As with a lot of people I know there is way too much going on from day to day: a full day’s work, the business side of one’s domestic life, family time — not to mention attempting to keep oneself in some sort of physical “shape,” plus whatever other stuff is out there for one’s own personal growth.  Say taking classes, writing, gym time, running/walking/hiking/biking, doing pottery, painting, reading … and so on.

It all brings me to the notion that many of us live in a sort of permanent sixth day.

We wake-up much too early, go about creating the world, get to bed much too late and rather than taking a day of rest, get up for yet another day of creating the world.

It brings to mind that we are all like Atlas.  We are over-scheduled, over-stressed and over-worked — not in and of itself a “bad” thing so much as the fact that we are all so tired and need a space to slow it down; the chance to say, the seventh day is not a bad idea after all.  And no it doesn’t mean that one has to get “religion”  and go running off to a house of worship, rather, it’s a way to acknowledge that when one is working hard, very hard for that matter, it is A-OKAY to be a slug for a day.  Further, how one structures that seventh day is really, ultimately up to oneself.

For religious Jews, the seventh day is a weekly holiday.  One eats a huge meal with family, sings, dances, prays, and then sits around till the end of the sabbath period.  I’m oversimplifying, but the kernel of the idea is that we all owe ourselves some rest, if nothing else than to be restored enough to fight the next battle with our wits about us.

It’s a lesson that true athletes know.  The body can only be pushed so far before it needs rest.  And so with all of us as an everyday experience.  We need balance and part of that balance is closing the shutters and putting up the sign that says, “gone fishing.”


Happy New Year abs

Happy New Year abs!

So true to my do a bit of exercise everyday New Year’s resolution, I completed a 40 minute Yoga video (courtesy of Netflix:  “Crunch: Candlelight Yoga”) and found a 15 minute Ab-workout on YouTube from http://www.sparkpeople.com.  I’m now free to watch yet more English police-procedural videos with a clear conscience!

Happy New Year everyone from Girlboxing!

Are we ever really done?

Are we ever really done?

My semester ended yesterday.  I finished it with a self-satisfied feeling of having completed something.  Last night, in a celebration of sorts, I used my free evening time to bask in the glory of evening television, hanging (and arguing) with my family, cooking dinner (well, sort of, because it meant ordering in Indian for my husband, cooking mac and cheese with peas for my daughter and reheating Tuesday’s eggplant parm for me), wrestling with our very ornery cat and starting in on the list of chores in the run-up to Christmas.

I actually wrote Christmas cards, ordered Christmas presents online (including a double of something — oops), hauled out last year’s wrapping paper, talked with my husband about how neither of us felt very Christmasy this year, and then dug through our very overstuffed closet to find the bag of ornaments for the tree we have to get one of these days.  It all got me to thinking that the crush of too much to do all the time means that simple moments tend to fall by the wayside in favor of a forced march of “have-to-get-this-done.”

In essence, my night off wasn’t a night off at all, least ways not until I figured out that I really didn’t have to get everything done in one night.  And even though my list of things to do is still pretty huge, I’ve resolved to slow down over these next few weeks; to take the moments as they are and enjoy the journey too, not just the destination.

I see the application to my boxing too.  I get in a rush and go mad for the gym and then find that I lose the knack for even getting there.  So I’m calling a moratorium on needing to overachieve everything.  Merely achieving is okay, just as being done is okay.  That means that today, even though I have a lot of chores, I’m going to give each thing its due and if something doesn’t get finished, well, that’s okay too.  It can have its own arc; its own round, and while it’s nice to fit things neatly into the equivalent of three-minute intervals, not everything in life can be experienced in that way.